Sunday, March 04, 2007

Writing a Novel

When I began to get more time to write maybe an hour or two each day, I'd start by reading a few pages of A House for Mr. Biswas. I wanted to be reminded again and again of the comedy that informs V.S. Naipaul's writing about failure. And every time I finished work, I'd be conscious only of the ways in which I had failed. There is very little doubt in my mind that one of the hardest things a serious writer must do is write with humour. It was easy to forget this demand because I was anxious to get the words on the page. I was always afraid that the book would run aground. I'd be stranded in the sand. The journal's pages are full of notes recording scenes and snatches of imagined dialogue. Much of it was never used. But reading those pages now, I can very easily recall the panic and dread that dogged me during that time.
Amitava Kumar on how to write a novel, today in The Hindu.

P.S. I was looking for his new novel, Home Products, on Amazon so I could link to it, but it doesn't seem to be available there (yet?). But I did find this.


deepthi vinod said...

you know ..I have been trying to write this short story for a while..i have the pics and words in my mind.Just tryin hard to get my mind working as in when i write....let me know

Anonymous said...

Suj - I read that I know exactly what he's talking about. There's this horror that it'll all dry up and go away and then it'll never finish. At least some of us can over write and then prune. What about those who write so painstakingly they can never write more than a few hundred words a week?

Thanking God every day...